Education at risk

Raúl is 14 years old and is studying high school in a private middle-class school. Due to the pandemic, almost all pedagogical activity is remote and, as Cantv has many failures in his area, his father is making the effort to pay for a private internet service to guarantee him and his sister full connectivity. Education is the most important thing and I don't want them to hurt themselves, the parent explains.

Raúl has classes online at set times, receives and sends homework, and can ask questions of teachers. He also communicates by cell phone with his colleagues to do work and clarify doubts. To complete, he consults his assignments on the web: there he obtains written information, videos, photographs and other support.

Wilmer is 14 years old and is studying high school in a public school in a town near Caracas. In his house, the landline phone was lost a long time ago and later his mother's cell phone was stolen and she couldn't buy another one. He doesn't have a computer either. I ask the mother: -Surely you can follow the classes on channel 8, right? But the lady tells me that the signal from that channel fails in the area where they live. Wilmer attends his high school in a focused way to find and deliver homework and briefly interact with his teachers. He does his work on “recycled” sheets that someone can give him as a gift.

Unesco warns that in Latin America and the Caribbean, in the midst of this pandemic, there are at least 32 million girls and boys living in homes without an internet connection (GEM 2020 Report). This international body affirms that it is necessary for Internet access to be a universal right, guaranteed for the entire population. What is happening in Venezuela? Official data are not known, but we can estimate that surely more than half of the student body cannot connect, due to lack of equipment or service or both. What education are they receiving? Agreements between the Government, the opposition, the UN, the European Union, the United States and others are urgently needed to release resources dammed abroad and to remove obstacles to the free sale of oil and minerals, in order to generate income that allows expanding the internet connection, as well prepare schools with a view to more frequent limited and safe attendance of students.

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